For many people, retirement provides not only a chance to relax and spend more time with family, but it also frees up time to devote to hobbies, passions and, in some cases, volunteering. For recent retirees and transplants Jeaneen Hall and Suzanne Horner, this was certainly the case.
After relocating to Sarasota, Hall and Horner say they were both hoping to get involved in their new community through volunteer service, and they found that chance in Historic Spanish Point.
“I thought it was time to look into doing something to give me a little structure in my life,” says Hall, who moved in 2012 to Sarasota after retiring from her career as a physical therapist in Ohio. “I found the You’d be Perfect for This website, and I thought this position would be nice; it’s low-key and totally different from the medical field I was in all my life.”
As a volunteer, Hall spends two afternoons each week, either greeting customers or fielding their questions as they arrive, or working inside the visitors center. She’s enjoyed meeting fellow volunteers and employees, as well as visitors; learning about the history and beauty of her surroundings has been an added bonus.
“I never would’ve dreamed there would be so many opportunities for volunteers here,” she says. “It feels like you’re embracing your community.”
Inside, at the gift shop, Horner has found her own opportunity to give back. The retired elementary school teacher moved in 2011 from Ohio to Sarasota, and after a year of volunteering at an elementary school, she decided she wanted to meet more adults. She learned about a volunteer position at Historic Spanish Point online, and in June she began working each Thursday.
She says it’s been a learning experience, but she’s enjoyed forming relationships with both the customers in the gift shop as well as the other employees.
“It’s been great,” she says. “I’m a happier person when I have things to do that are interesting and challenging. I’m learning new things every day. After I hear a question that I don’t know the answer to, I try to find it, and I gradually learn more.”
BY THE NUMBERS
3 days — Combined days of service per week
4 months — Duration of volunteer service each at Historic Spanish Point
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